“Too deep, too talented, too balanced” TSN; with star players out, Jets dominate and win series 4 games to 1….by Chuck Duboff

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  • Have to start this off by sending a big thank you to Mark Chipman and David Thomson for bringing our Jets back home…and for believing in our city!!
  • No Morrissey, No Ehlers, No Perrault, No Enstrom, No Kulakov…NO PROBLEM.
  • The depth on this team is amazing; to watch players like Tucker Poolman just seamlessly fit into the lineup,  to have a Jack Roslovic sitting in the press box waiting for his turn…the depth is amazing.
  • The Winnipeg Jets 1.0 and 2.0 have never had goaltending like Conner Hellebuyck is giving us right now.  Back to back shutouts in the playoffs…so calm and focused…and get this…a 5th round pick!!!!!  What a scouting staff the Jets have.  I know that Jets goalie great, Joe Daley, is proud of Conner…they’ve grown to be good friends.  In the picture to the right:  Joe Daley, Conner Hellebucyk and Travis Daley.
  • Coach Maurice said that the practice on Thursday might have been the best they had all season…there was no way they were going to let Minnesota back into the series.
  • Question:  Even if healthy, who does Toby Enstrom replace?  Morrissey will replace Poolman…but, would you have Toby replacing Morrow?  Don’t think I would.  That’s a very good problem to have.
  • Sports Illustrated raving about the Jets.
  • The Jets forechecking and neutral zone play is simply outstanding; you could see the Wild last night trying to figure out how to get into the Jets zone…and any time they did, the Jets kept everything to the outside with very few quality chances.
  • Surreal seeing the crowds outside the Bell MTS Place…15, 000…20,000…what do the numbers matter…seeing the City of Winnipeg so alive…and showing the rest of Canada that we are more than just a hiccup on the prairies…what I loved seeing was all the young people at the street party, celebrating our team and city!!
  • Now we need the Colorado Avalanche to take Nashville to 7 games and knock them off; that would give us a tired Avs team and home ice advantage for round 2.
  • When you think about the Jets offence…there is so much freakin talent; on that power play goal by Scheif…you’ve got Stastny winning the faceoff, Wheels on the wall, Buff at the point, Scheif in the slot and Laine being shadowed…when they have their mojo…there is no stopping that PP unit.
  • That is just one series folks…Jets are going to have time to get healthy and when the second round starts we should have our best lineup out on the ice.
  • After Boston knocks off Toronto tonight…Canada’s team will be right here in Winnipeg!!!  All the national media will be right here in Winnipeg…and the Toronto media will be letting us know what Auston Matthews had for breakfastjets 5
  • Trouba and Scheif played like stars last night…our first pick ever for Jets 2.0, Mark Scheifele, and our second first round pick, Jacob Trouba.  They were both GREAT last night.
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Game 5: Jets can’t give the Wild any life!! Let’s finish it off tonight boys!! by Chuck Duboff

Bruce+Boudreau+4f8af2ArQqkm

© Chuck Duboff

Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is using every playoff tactic at his disposal.  As Game 2 of the series was coming to an end, and the Wild were falling behind 2 games to none, he had his guys start several fights with Jets players.  They went after Brandon Tanev and Ben Chairot, hoping to fire up their team.  After Game 4 Boudfeau was bemoaning the fact that a missed call by the referees cost his team the game…and he played this card until the NHL announced that Josh Morrissey was suspended for one game.  That wasn’t all for the Pillsbury Dough Boy…big Dustin Byfuglien has been the target of barbs thrown at him by Boudreau the past two days.  There’s whining about the big hits that Buff has been laying out on the Wild players…Boudreau insists that the league should be looking at the Byfuglien hits…all this designed to get into the heads of the referees and hopefully Big Buff.

B

I’d suggest that Boudreau knows his team is down 3-1 in the Series, and even with a depleted Winnipeg defence corps, he knows there is too much fire power up front for the Jets and Bouncy Bruce is playing every card he has at his disposal.

Coach Maurice and the Jets players all know what’s in front of them tonight.  One more win and the Jets move on to round 2…and to a man they were all saying the same thing on Thursday: we have to play our game, play the same game we’ve played all season…and not give Minnesota any life.

https://www.nhl.com/jets/video/practice–paul-maurice/t-277437442/c-59997603

https://www.tsn.ca/laine-closes-out-his-teens-as-nhl-s-youngest-top-scorer-in-30-years-1.1062395

Up front the Jets need to continue to play that tremendous forechecking game that they use to smother the Wild.  Whether its the TLC line dominating in the offensive zone or Kyle Conner continuously stealing pucks from Wild players…forechecking and having small gaps in the neutral zone are the key to a Jets win.  I think our defence will be just fine.  I’m expecting Big Tyler Myers to play and if Tucker Poolman can continue to play his safe, smart game, Conner Hellebucyk will have all the help he needs.  The Jets d-men are really adept at keeping the puck to the outside and not allowing Grade A scoring chances.

morrow

Another big shout out to Chevy and his scouting staff…where would the Jets be right now without Joe Morrow?  What seemed like a rather ho hum trade with the Habs on trade deadline day, has turned into Gold.  Morrow has said many times he didn’t expect to play much when he got here, but with injuries and being given the chance to play  a regular shift, it seems like Morrow is turning into the player who was a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Great job of scouting for a depth defence man by the Jets.

The Jets don’t want to have to go back to Minnesota on Sunday.  The weather is nice outside and they would love a few days off for the walking wounded to heal up for round 2.  So the message to the Jets players, coaches, management and fans is this:

DON’T GIVE THE WILD LIFE!!!

My prediction: a 4-2 Winnipeg Jets win!!!  And with that tens of thousands of fans will be partying on the streets of downtown till all hours of the morning!!

By Saturday night, the Jets will be Canada’s only team left to cheer for!!

 

 

Here’s How To Make Baseball Great Again, by Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press.

© Chuck Duboff:  this article absolutely nailed it on the head; from instant replay, to sacrifice bunts, to home run derby…baseball is not that much fun to watch anymore…at least at the MLB level.  In its attempt to speed the game up, they have taken away what has made baseball great.  One that particularly bugs me is the shifts that go on in games…with computer printouts of every at bat for every player, teams know how to defence a hitter, and what used to be a single to right field, is now an out to the third baseman playing between 1B and 2B; as in basketball, where zone defences are not allowed, this kind of shifting should be eliminated, so that balls that are hit, and in the past would have been hits…go back to being hits!!!
That was my little rant…hope you enjoy this article by Tim Dahlberg…would love to read your feedback.
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, left, and

Attendance is down in baseball, though the sample size is small because the season is still young.

What caused the drop depends on who you listen to. Unusually cold weather is surely one culprit, and escalating ticket prices are likely another. Teams tanking before the season even began might also be an issue, with fans unwilling to spend money to watch bad baseball.

Then again, maybe the game itself is to blame.

Baseball has changed, and not for the better. Games last forever, pitchers don’t last at all and everything is run from spreadsheets. Meanwhile, the sacrifice bunt is almost extinct, the shift ruins the basic concept of outs and complete games are rarer than scheduled doubleheaders.

To many, the game has become little more than a glorified home run derby, where pitches throw as hard as they can, batters swing as hard as they can and the team that hits the most balls over the fence usually wins.

With that in mind, here are some changes designed to make baseball great again:

GO SHIFTLESS — Baseball is meant to be played with two infielders on one side of second base, two on the other. Simple as that. Make it a rule, and make them have at least one foot on the infield dirt. If you’re going to be thrown out on a ground ball to right field it should at least be by the right fielder.

INSTANT REPLAY — Get rid of instant replay. Yes, just dump it. It ruins the flow of the game and eliminates way too many fun scenes of managers kicking dirt and arguing with umpires.

FEWER COMMERCIALS — This is almost mandatory, if baseball is ever to get a handle on the length of games. One fewer commercial in between innings would shave nearly 10 minutes off the average game, a lifetime in today’s attention-challenged world.

THREE’S THE CHARM — Every pitcher should have to pitch to at least three batters, no exceptions. This would not only speed up the game but force managers to think a little more instead of relying entirely on analytics and fixating on single matchups.

OHTANI EFFECT — Make each team have a two-way player like Shohei Ohtani. The player must pitch at least once a week and be in the starting lineup on at least two other days to hit. It adds a nice twist, and what fan can’t remember Little League, when the best pitchers were also almost always the best hitters?

BULLPEN CARTS — These were fun for a while in the ’70s, but so were pullover polyester uniforms and multipurpose stadiums. Let’s face it, relievers don’t want to embarrass themselves by riding to the rescue and the carts serve as nothing more than an advertising ploy. A better use for the carts would be to parade the starting pitcher around the field in a ride of shame when taken out after being shelled.

FIX THE BASEBALL — Home runs are at a record level, which isn’t a bad thing by itself. But when Bryce Harper shatters his bat and still hits a ball 406 feet over the right-centerfield fence, something is wrong with the ball. ‘Fess up, MLB: Admit the ball has changed and do something about it.

SACRIFICE BUNT — Give players credit for a hit every time they successfully sacrifice. It may not bring back the sacrifice bunt entirely, but it should ensure it still has a place in the game.

STRIKE ZONE — The official strike zone is basically the letters to the knees. Enforce it, and pitchers will throw more strikes. Enforce it, and batters will swing at more pitches. Both are good things.

FEWER RELIEVERS — Limit the number of relievers a team can carry at any given time. The Dodgers currently have 13 pitchers on their roster, eight of them relievers. That means there are only 12 position players, which eliminates a lot of strategy over the use of pinch hitters late in the game and encourages managers to micromanage pitching staffs.

TEAM CHEFS — Get rid of them. If hot dogs were good enough for Babe Ruth, they’re good enough for today’s players.

DOUBLEHEADERS — Bring them back, and don’t charge fans separately for each game. Each team should be required to schedule at least four doubleheaders a year. Use the days saved to begin the season in April instead of March and maybe there won’t be so many postponements because of weather.

There’s more, but that’s a good start. Baseball doesn’t need to reinvent itself, but it does need to change.

The reward will be better games, and more fans in the stands to watch them.

___

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

3 Down, 13 to go!! Vezina Trophy nominee, Conner Hellebucyk, leads Jets to a 2-0 win and 3-1 strangle hold on the series!! by Chuck Duboff

Great Helly save

Helleybucyk with the spectacular save!

© Chuck Duboff

  • That is the kind of goaltending that wins you Stanley Cups; you could tell early on that Conner Hellebucyk was in his zone…and that one spectacular glove save is a big part of the reason the Jets are up 3-1 in the series this morning!!
    https://www.tsn.ca/nhl/video/must-see-hellebuyck-gets-across-to-rob-dumba~1373328
  • Vezina Trophy Nominee…for a Winnipeg Jet!!  How much sweeter can this season get; once again, after a shaky game 3 performance, Bucky came out and stonewalled the Minnesota Wild.IMG_3493 (1)
  • Though he only played six minutes, full marks to Tucker Poolman, a rookie…playing his first NHL playoff game, the kid didn’t look out of place.
  • The Scheifele line was making things happen all night…and number 55 was at his absolute best.   He was flying out there, making great defensive plays, while being a dominating factor in the Minnesota zone.  It looks like Scheif has taken it to another level in his personal development…and hi goal to be a great centre in the NHL. 

     

  • The Josh Morrissey hit on Eric Stahl…my take; yes, that should have been a penalty..no question about it; but, for Boudreau to say it cost them the game…give me a break.  Calls are missed, just like the “questionable” hit on Tyler Myers.  Boudreau feels the collar tightening and rather than commenting on the fact that the Wild didn’t score for another 2 1/2 periods, he chose to blame it on the refs.  TSN analyst Dave Poulin doesn’t think it warrants a suspension, but, that being said…I wouldn’t be surprised if Morrissey got sat down for a game.
  • Jets need a healthy Toby Enstrom and Tyler Myers for Friday’s game in the ‘peg.   If Morrissey has to miss a game, we need both of those guys ready to play…I’m sorry, Sami Niku is a great story…but, he’s not ready for NHL playoff hockey.
  • I dare say that Big Buff is playing the best hockey of his career.  He is a force whenever he is on the ice…he’s laying out punishing hits on  Wild players and playing a smart defensive game.  In fact you can hear him shouting out instructions to players on the ice, what they should do with the puck.  He’s so freakin engaged into the game!!Buff hit
  • Jacob Trouba hasn’t been playing up to the standards we expect of him; again in the first period he had a couple of bad giveaways in his own zone; he usually plays with such a high degree of confidence, it’s surprising to see him make such glaring mistakes.  Got to get him back to playing up to the level he is capable of.
  • Speaking of getting a player up to a higher level…what is the deal with Brian Little; he is almost invisible on the ice.  He’s got to be playing with some sort of injury, because that sure isn’t the player we’ve come to watch over the years.
  • Kyle Conner and Jack Roslovic are a joy to watch; they skate like the wind, have silky smooth hands and have the energy of raw rookies!!
  • Something is missing on the 25, 27, 29 line…can’t put my finger on it; I don’t know that you mix things up with the lines…but somehow all that talent has to get in sync!!!  I do love the great back checking by Laine.
  • Up 3 games to 1; game 5 in Winnipeg; a deciding game!!  Forecast +13 and sunshine for Friday…what’s your guess?  15,000?  20,000 people on the”runway on Donald Street”  That could be one Giant Party in downtown Winnipeg on Friday night!! 

“It’s playoff hockey, there’s intensity, I like where we are.” Conner Helleybucyk

Myers

© Chuck Duboff

“It’s just one game in a seven game series…and now we’re up two games to one” Blake Wheeler.

No team has ever gone 16-0 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  It was just one game and the Jets are still in the driver’s seat with home ice advantage.

There’s not a lot you can say about last night’s game other than, let’s put it behind us and get ready for game four.   The Jets didn’t skate like they are capable of, didn’t have the fire, the forechecking that is essential to their game.  “It certainly didn’t help us.”  Coach Maurice asked if the travel affected them.  Despite the protestations that the wacky day of travel had no affect on them, you know that at some level, the up and downs with the airplane for two days had to have some affect.  As well, the officiating was much tighter…no complaints…but it took both teams the first period to figure out what the refs were going to call.

Scheif 1

So…you regroup and come out Tuesday night ready to play the kind of hockey that won 52 games this season. Hopefully Myers is ok to play…if not, I’d imagine Enstrom will be inserted.  If the Jets come out flat again, then there will be reason for concern.  But all season, after a poorly played game, the Jets have rebounded and played their best hockey.  That is what I am expecting tomorrow night.  Speed, forechecking, Bucky on his game and better zone time.  If not…we’ll be heading home tied 2-2.

It’s playoff hockey, it’s intense…should be exciting.

 

Laine is good. ……  and he’s getting better; by Geoff Brookes

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(c) Geoff Brookes

I will ask the unthinkable question – is Laine’s shot getting better?

Throughout the course of the past two years, we’ve been thrilled to watch
this “best in world” shooter. We’ve had jaw dropping moments as he unleashes
a shocking rifle dart to the net, stunning the opposing goalie. The
netminder’s reaction is almost always too late, like an older slugger trying
to anticipate a young fire-baller’s fastball. The goalie’s best hope is that
the shot hits him (it almost never does), or that it goes wide of the net
(by a fraction of an inch).

But since the new year, Laine’s shot seems to have improved. The velocity
seems more extreme. The release seems to allow Laine to change his target at
the last nano-second.

https://www.nhl.com/video/laine-scores-on-one-timer/t-277350912/c-59869803

As others have said, it’s like a cheat code in a video game.

Both Lundqvist and Price had compliments after being beaten on shots by
Laine. Lundqvist said that Laine looked like he was going to pick one
corner, then lazered it to the other top corner, making Lundqvist look
off-balance for the shot. Carey Price said that he was just getting his feet
square to the shot, when he realized the puck was already past him.

After game 2 of the playoffs, my Dad, my brother Derek and I met at Boston
Pizza. I had been watching on the big screen outside, then on the TV screen
inside when Laine scored. They had been watching from our seats at the
attacking zone blue line.

Laine draft

I said, “Wasn’t that an incredible shot by Laine!” I waited for an
enthusiastic response. Deadpan, Derek said, “Well, to tell you the truth, I
really couldn’t see it. I saw him wind-up, and then it’s like the puck
disappeared.” I showed him the replay on my wide-screen phone. He grinned
and laughed. “Yeah, it’s like something from a science fiction movie.”

https://www.nhl.com/video/laines-scorching-power-play-goal/t-277350912/c-59539803

After Laine’s hat trick against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, I watched a
post-game video from the Rangers broadcast. They were trying to analyze what
had just happened (Laine had the only 3 goals of that game). They
interviewed Lundqvist after that game, and King Henry had some very honest
respect for Laine’s shot.

The broadcasters’ slow motion replay seemed to reveal that there was a
double impact on the release from Laine’s hyper-flexible composite stick –
once just before the bottom of the extend stick blade motion, and then again
just after the bottom, as the stick blade flicked through the whipping
motion. The New York broadcasters speculated that perhaps Laine was able to
make a split-nano-second decision as to the ultimate shot direction. If
nothing else, Laine’s choice of shot location was well camouflaged, so that
Lundqvist was essentially guessing at the ultimate target.

https://www.nhl.com/video/laine-lasers-in-goal-from-circle/t-277350912/c-58488703

Either way, you can’t stop it if you can’t react quickly enough. With
Laine’s goal last night, it seemed like Dubnyk barely moved, if at all.
Laine seemed to “get all of it” with the goal-scoring shot in game 2,
compared to the goal in game 1, where Dubnyk might have got a piece of the
shot before it went past him.

Patrik Laine

 

No article on Laine can avoid mentioning that the Jets are definitely not
completely reliant on Laine for their goal production. On the contrary, The
Jets have been playing as well as they have all season, especially in game
2, coming at the Wild in waves of attacks, controlling the puck and
delivering punishing checks. Laine himself continues to improve his play
without the puck, controlling board battles, evading opponents, making good
defensive reads and plays, and delivering hits.

 

But having that lethal shot is like having a secret weapon in a military
battle. With a little help from his playmaking compadres, Laine finds the
open spaces, and readies the cannon. If it were a videogame, a serious voice
would declare in the background, “Laine deployed!”

laine 1

Seriously, the threat of that shot also opens up different spaces for his
team-mates. With the Jets’ standard first-line power-play set-up, Wheeler
can also look for Scheifele in the high slot, or Byfuglien at the point.
Wheeler can also reload by feeding the puck to Stastny below the goal-line,
who can either work a give-and-go with Wheeler, a reload pass to Wheeler, or
set-up Scheifele in the low slot, giving the power-play an opportunity to
shift into new spaces. Scheifele’s power play goal in game 1 is a clear
illustration of how Laine draws away opposing defenders like a powerful
magnet.

And Laine keeps getting better, every game.

I didn’t imagine that this could still keep getting better!

2 down, 14 to go; Big Buff: “just another day in the office”…ferocious hitting leads Jets to a 4-1 win and 2-0 lead in the series. By Chuck Duboff

 

 

  • Quite simply…the best game I’ve seen Dustin Byfuglien play in the past seven years.  As dominating a performance as you could ever expect; body smashing hits, beautiful set up for Stastny’s game winner…what a Force the Big Man is!!!Big Buff
  • Hey Paul Romanuk…it’s Blake, not Mark,  Wheeler…how’d your Toronto media react if you called Matthews “Mitch”…you should apologize to Wheeler, the Jets and all its fans…and time you took this team more seriously.
    Is Wheels ever pissed off… https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/984851384552992768
  • Not only is this team for real…they are playing with a confidence I have never seen a Jets team play with.  Even during the Jets 1.0 days of Hawerchuk, you never got the sense of mojo, confidence that this Jets team has.  They just expect to win…their last loss was that “fun one” to the Black Hawks several weeks ago…
  • We gave Adam Lowry lots of love after Game one, I think it’s time we start giving Andrew Copp the same kudos…the kid is hitting everything in sight and this past month has found his scoring touch…yet, another great draft pick by the Jets scouting department.IMG_3452
  • The Jets hitting just wore the Wild down and by the third period it was all Jets…smothering, cycling and hitting and scoring.  I haven’t seen the “hitting” stats, but I dare say the numbers would be bone crushing.https://www.nhl.com/video/byfugliens-huge-hit-on-koivu/t-297851668/c-59867403
  • Sorry Toby Enstrom…no way Morrow comes out of the lineup…he is playing really well with the Big Man; having been a first round draft pick, he is probably getting his first real shot…and taking advantage of it!!  Again, our scouts finding a depth d-man for the Jets at the trade deadline!!
  • What a party on Donald Street last night…they said there were close to 15,000 out there…and if the Jets go on the roll we are all expecting, those numbers will just get bigger and bigger.
  • Paul Stastny has really picked up his game and has been a force in the first two games; Laine and Stastny with goals last night and “fly”, with the afterburners on, was making great plays.
  • Without Devan Dubnyk in the Wild goal, that could have been an 8-1 game!!
  • I really liked that Little line, with Copp and Roslovic.
  • Speaking of Jack Roslovic…that kid just makes things happen…how many teams in the NHL could lose a Matthieu Perrault and have a player like Rosco take his spot!!  Hello scouting department!!
  • Manitoba Moose:  AHL Coach of the Year: Pascal Vincent; AHL Rookie of the Year: Mason Appleton; AHL Defenceman of the year: Sammy Niku.   WOW!!
  • Unless the Wild find some way to slow the Jets down, to nullify their hitting, this could be a really quick series.
  • It’s hard not to be excited when you read article after article after article raving about the Jets and predicting great things for this playoff season and for years to come!!
  • Seriously…how talented is Josh Morrissey…great skater and always just seems to make the right play!!  Great pick Jets scouting department!!
  • Jets are going to have to literally and figuratively weather a storm in Minnesota tomorrow night…looks like a blizzard hitting the Twin Cities…and…the first ten minutes tomorrow night will be key; Minnesota will be bringing everything they have at the start of the game…if the Jets can maintain their composure and find their speed and hitting to match the Wild intensity, they will be good!!IMG_3451

1 down, 15 to go!! Jets win a thriller 3-2, city of Winnipeg shines!!! by Chuck Duboff

1 Down, 15 to go!! It’s Game 2 tonight.

Chuck and Geoff's Eclectic Blog

Crowd 1
© Chuck Duboff

  • The anticipation for this game was electric…downtown Winnipeg was alive and showed Canada that this little prairie town can party like anybody!!
  • Adam Lowry was just outstanding last night; throwing crushing hits along the boards and then winning key faceoffs in the last two minutes of the game!!

    Lowry

  • How about the unheralded Joe Morrow scoring the game winner with just 7 minutes left; you feel great for the former first rounder who has bounced around a lot in his career!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCZO1fJrJck
  • The Lowry, Tanev, Copp line is a force and is as valuable to the Jets as is Scheif’s big line.  The forechecking and cycling that they do hems the opposition in their own zone and creates energy for the whole team.
    Crowd 2
  • How many teams have a Jack Roslovic sitting in the press box?  If Matty Perrault is seriously hurt, it’s Jack who will take his spot…

View original post 361 more words

1 down, 15 to go!! Jets win a thriller 3-2, city of Winnipeg shines!!! by Chuck Duboff

Crowd 1
© Chuck Duboff

  • The anticipation for this game was electric…downtown Winnipeg was alive and showed Canada that this little prairie town can party like anybody!!
  • Adam Lowry was just outstanding last night; throwing crushing hits along the boards and then winning key faceoffs in the last two minutes of the game!!

    Lowry

  • How about the unheralded Joe Morrow scoring the game winner with just 7 minutes left; you feel great for the former first rounder who has bounced around a lot in his career!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCZO1fJrJck
  • The Lowry, Tanev, Copp line is a force and is as valuable to the Jets as is Scheif’s big line.  The forechecking and cycling that they do hems the opposition in their own zone and creates energy for the whole team.
    Crowd 2
  • How many teams have a Jack Roslovic sitting in the press box?  If Matty Perrault is seriously hurt, it’s Jack who will take his spot and create even more scoring punch for the Jets.
  • The Jets power play…with Stastny winning faceoffs, Wheels on the boards, Buff quarterbacking at the point, Scheif in the slot and Laine in his office…how are teams supposed to defend that?  Pick your poison…if you try and take Laine out of the play, you leave Scheif open in the slot…and boom!!!!!  1-0 Jets!!
  • Speaking of Laine, you can just see it in his eyes…the kid just thrives on the big stage; he’s been a star at every level he’s played and you just knew he was going to come through last night.   What a shot…what a franchise changing moment that was, getting him in the draft!!Laine goal
  • What can you say about Conner Hellebucyk that hasn’t been said already?  He plays a quiet, steady game, never seeming to get flustered.  With the sound defensive play of the Jets, Bucky just needs to make the first save and the puck is out of our zone.
  • Just as Geoff and I were questioning Stastny’s play, he woke up in the third, made a great pass to Laine on his goal, set up behind the net and controlled the puck and had some key faceoff wins.
  • Getting that playoff monkey off their backs was huge for the Jets, for the franchise, for the fans.  Now, with that confidence that they can win a game, it’s time for the Jets to play their A game and just roll over Minny!!
  • Congrats to the city of Winnipeg, Tourism Manitoba and Economic Development Winnipeg for organizing last night’s street party…it showed Winnipeg at its best…to Canada and all over the hockey world.

     

  • I had a tradition which I did for the WHA Jets who were in the playoffs every spring and were seemingly winning the Avco Cup every year.  First win…that’s one, fifteen to go; two down, fourteen to go.   So, I brought that out of the closet, shook off the mothballs…and…THAT’S ONE DOWN AND 15 TO GO!!!
  • So, what were you doing at 19 years old? In the afternoon playing video games and then in the evening scoring a huge goal in the NHL playoffs!!  You rock Patty!!

What are the keys to the Jets winning the series against the Wild?…by Chuck Duboff

Jets wild

© Chuck Duboff

There’s the excitement, the hype, the anticipation of the start of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.  For the Winnipeg Jets, who finished second overall in the NHL, the expectations of a long run in the playoffs are off the charts.  I just read the Sporting News site, which had the Jets as the third favourites to go all the way; other sites have the Jets as the number one team to go all the way.

Those are mighty high expectations for our hockey team.  That being said, what will be the keyS to the Jets beating their first round opponents, the Minnesota Wild:

HELLE

  1. Goaltending: The Jets received Vezina and Hart Trophy goaltending from Conner Hellebucyk this season.  He kept the Jets in many games and often times made the sensational save when needed.  He has an air of confidence about him, seemingly not getting rattled when he is scored upon.  For the Jets to take care of the Wild, Bucky will have to be on his A game.
  2. Defence:  Getting a healthy Jacob Trouba back for the playoffs is huge; pairing him with Josh Morrissey gives the Jets a shutdown tandem, one which Coach Maurice can put out against the Wild’s best.  There is some concern with Ben Chairot and Joe Morrow on the left D, but hopefully their partners, Buff and Myers can compensate for any troubles they might have.  I don’t think we can count on Toby Enstrom anymore, because even if he does come back for game 2, teams will continue to hammer him and injuries will quickly mount.   For the Jets to beat the Wild, we need the pairing of Morrissey and Trouba to be at their absolute best…and big Dustin Byfuglien continuing to play outstanding hockey.

     

     

  3. Forwards: This is the engine which roars; our top two lines of Scheif, Wheels and Conner, along with Stastny, Ehlers and Laine need to be firing on all cylinders!!  Speed, forecheck and finding open ice is the key to these two sensational lines.  All six of these forwards are capable of lighting the lamp and playoffs are the time to do just that.  The Bryan Little line, if it isn’t going to score, must at the very least, be sound defensively…any offence from this line will be a bonus.
    But, the key to a Jets win over the Wild will be the Lowry, Tanev, Copp line.  Wednesday at 7:00PM, I would have this line start the game…and get the boys in the Wild zone, hammering their D, creating turnovers and smothering any chance for the Wild to get the puck out.  This line is the key to the Jets winning the series.  They are outstanding and if they are on their game, they are difference makers. 

     

  4. Intangibles: As in any playoff series, home ice advantage is big…and is even bigger when the number one team for home ice wins is playing at  Bell MTS Place!!!  Facing a whiteout and 15,000 screaming fans will be a daunting task for the Wild…and this could be the one intangible which rides the Jets to a series win.

    whiteout

     

  5. Prediction:  I can’t see the Jets losing four games to the Wild; Jets have won ten of their last eleven games and are playing with tremendous confidence.  I can see the Jets winning the first two at home, losing game three in Minnesota, winning game four in Minny & then coming home and slamming the door on the Wild in Game 5.

    JETS IN 5

It’s time for this sleepy prairie town to: let loose, party and cheer on the Winnipeg Jets!!!…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Whether you are a 64 year old Jets fan who saw Bobby Hull sign a million dollar  contract at Portage and Main…or a young fan experiencing the excitement of Winnipeg Jets playoff hockey for the first time…

It is ok to let loose, party and cheer on your Winnipeg Jets!!!  

I shook my head in disbelief yesterday when reading one of the city newspapers; a bitter, cynical  old journalist, who hasn’t accepted the technology of today, suggested to Winnipegers that we not get too excited about the Jets.

No, lets just continue to be this prairie bumpkin and hibernate for 12 months of the year.  Traveling the world, I cannot believe the small town thinking of so many in this city.  Anywhere you go in this world, people let loose and have a good time.  I went to a professional soccer game in Mexico and it was one giant party outside and inside the stadium.  I went to a Mexican League baseball game and there were drums and singing and cheering and the atmosphere was electric. I went to a pre-Olympic baseball game in Taiwan and it was so much fun.   I could go on and on about baseball in the States, hockey in Vegas and Toronto and Nashville….

Then there is Winnipeg where we have columnists suggesting that we shouldn’t get too excited about our Winnipeg Jets!!  What’s there really to be excited about?

Oh yeah…52 wins…114 points…most wins by an American goalie in a season…Patrik Laine…Nic Ehlers, Paul Stastny, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Conner, Blake Wheeler, the TLC line, Conner Hellebucyk, Jacob Trouba, Big Buff, Josh Morrissey…2nd place overall in the NHL…one of the great arena atmospheres in the NHL…won 10 of their last 11 games!!  Set a record for most home wins in a season…

It is ok to let loose, party and cheer on your Winnipeg Jets!!!  

But NO…lets not get excited…let’s just be the city that everyone pokes shots at; why should we try and better this city like TNSE, David Thomson and Mark Chipman have done.

Get out this week and cheer on your Winnipeg Jets!!!  Go to the game in White!!  Wear your Jets jersey to work!!  Fly your pennant in your car window!!  Go to the street party and let loose!!

It is ok to let loose, party and cheer on your Winnipeg Jets!!!  

Can the Minnesota Wild knock off the highly favoured Winnipeg Jets?…by Geoff Brookes

Jets wild

© Geoff Brookes

Can the Minnesota Wild Ground the Jets?

The Winnipeg Jets have exceeded all of our expectations this year. Even for a bullish forecaster (like myself), they beat the market estimates. I had them at 106 points with my pre-season prediction…and the Jets have finished the season with 52 wins and 114 points.

Now that the Jets have earned home ice advantage for their opening playoff series, it’s time to consider the challenges presented by their first-round opponents, the Minnesota Wild.

There is one advanced stat about the Wild that stands out like Kilimanjaro above the plains. According to Corsica.ca, the Wild had the lowest “expected goals against” in the entire NHL this year.

This is not a fluke, and this is not a drill. In the previous year (2016-17), the Wild were second only to Boston in “expected goals against”.

Jets wild 4

In a similar vein, the “expected save percentage” for their #1 goalie, Devin Dubnyk, was the highest in the NHL for both this year *and* last year.

Call it the Boudreau factor. The Wild just do not give up high quality shots for their opposition.  Haven’t for 2 years now. (Hmmm…. Boudreau also coached the Ducks back when the Jets met them in the playoffs in 2015….this sounds bad.)

But wait a minute, you say. Didn’t the Jets blow out the Wild 7-2 back in November? Didn’t the Jets win 3 out of 4 games against the Wild this year?

All true. However, the Wild were banged up in the fall, including Zach Parise. In their last meeting with the Jets, in January, the Wild beat the Jets 4-1 in Minnesota. And the Wild only really got their season going in a big way in February.

Jets wild 3

Ah, you say, but they are now without their stalwart defenseman, Ryan Suter.

Missing Suter is the “X factor” in this series. Suter really is an amazing defenseman, controlling the play of games like few defenseman can. Missing Suter is a massive blow for the Wild. The Wild will need Spurgeon to be healthy (recovering from a hamstring), and will need their entire Defense group to play like they’re….well, like they’re Ryan Suter.

This series will be won or lost based on the battle for the slot area. It is a critical battle zone, pitting the talented young Jets forwards against a rookie-laden group of defensemen. If the Wild defensemen can follow Boudreau’s game plan successfully, they could potentially frustrate the high-flying Jets. If, on the other hand, the deep group of Jets forwards can dominate the play as they did against teams like the Kings and the Ducks in March, possibly tiring the opposing defensemen and exploiting the slot area, then it could be a short series in favour of the Jets.

We will also bring you  some more features on this upcoming series in the coming days. Enjoy!

Go Jets Go!!!